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Macedonia may be a small country, but this European country was once home to one of the world’s greatest empires. Therefore, this historical destination boasts a rich heritage, a magnificent mountain landscape, and an abundance of nature.
With this balance of nature and culture, there’s plenty to explore during a trip to Macedonia. For example, there are many incredible national parks, such as Pelister and the majestic Matka Canyon. The architecture in the ancient towns is just as appealing, too. Highlights include the capital city of Skopje and the preserved ruins of Heraclea.
Therefore, to make the most of your visit, you’ll need a carefully planned Macedonia Itinerary curated to the length of your trip.
Macedonia is not a country you want to rush through. With so much on offer, you should spend at least a week here. However, I strongly recommend adding another week or two to your vacation for the best Macedonia itinerary.
On a 2- or 3-week trip, you can explore at a more leisurely pace and see more of the country beyond the most popular attractions. This will allow you to visit lesser-known places like Mavrovo National Park and the picturesque city of Veles.
A 7-day Macedonia Trip Itinerary will cover the must-see places. Logistically it makes sense to start your trip in Skopje, the quirky capital city.
While here, be sure to visit the famous 6th-century Fortress, the Church of the Holy Savior, and of course, the Old Bazaar that dates back to the 12th century. Being such a kitsch city, you’ll be in both awe and confusion walking around. However, joining a tour here is a great way to learn more about the fascinating city’s history.
From Skopje, head to the beautiful Matka Valley, a stunning natural landmark that should be on any Macedonia Itinerary. You can choose to explore the valley and canyon via a relaxing boat tour or by kayak or raft for more of an adventure.
The last destination on your 7-day Macedonia vacation itinerary is Ohrid. This UNESCO world heritage site is famous for its many churches, 365 to be exact. However, the city is also in a serene spot on Lake Ohrid, making it one of the most beautiful parts of Macedonia. The most famous sight is the Church of Saint John the Theologian, a historic Orthodox church overlooking the lake.
The biggest reason to stay in Macedonia for over a week is to have the time to explore the incredible Baba Mountain and Prespa Lake. Baba mountain (also known as the Pelister Peak) and Prespa Lake are located just outside the city of Bitola, in the Pelister national park. There are many excellent hiking and biking trails here of varying lengths.
Be sure to spend a day or so in Bitola Town too, where you can take a walking tour or wander around at your peril. Visit the Old Bazaar along Dragor river, then take a break in one of the many cafes along Sirok Sokak Street.
Another must-see site here is the ruins of Heraclea Lyncestis, located at the foot of Mount Baba. It’s not the most preserved historical site but is well worth a visit regardless. This area was initially a Greek City but then later became a Roman military settlement.
The atmosphere here is peaceful, allowing you to wander around, pondering what life was like during those times. Check out the impressive Mosaic flooring, too, which has various floral, geometric, animal designs.
With two weeks in this beautiful city, you can see all of the country’s gems without rushing from place to place. For your 2-week Macedonia Vacation Itinerary, follow the above itineraries before heading northwest to the Mavrovo national park and village. This mountainous region is one of the most beautiful parts of Macedonia, and it is well worth extending your trip to spend some time here.
Mavrovo is home to the famous ski resort, Zare Lazarevski. Here you can ski and snowboard in the winter and go cycling, paragliding, or lake boating in the summer. There are also many brilliant hiking trails here. You can take a gentle stroll around the lake or trek up to the mountains.
To finish your trip, head to the Albanian border, where Mount Korab is located. This is the highest peak of the eponymous mountain range, standing at 2,764 meters, and thus, is a hikers paradise. You can climb Golem Korab from the Macedonian side. However, if you don’t fancy a strenuous trek, you can check out the waterfalls around instead.
Three weeks in Macedonia makes for the best Macedonia itinerary as you can spend longer in each place. I suggest following the above itineraries, but with one addition. After visiting Skopje and Matka Canyon, before heading south to Ohrid, take a detour east to the gorgeous city of Veles.
Veles is a one-hour drive from Matka and is a lovely spot to relax for a couple of days. You will find some lovely monuments here, including the Clock Tower, Gemidzii, and Ilinden Rebels (Duke on a horse). Then, travel 8km north from the town to the tranquil Lake Mladost.
After Veles, continue with the above Macedonia travel itinerary, visiting Ohrid, Pelister, Bitola, Mavrovo, and finally Mount Korab. After your hike, spend your last couple of days at one of the spa resorts in Mavrovo for some much-deserved TLC.
Get in touch with one of our travel experts in Macedonia to create a customized Macedonia Itinerary. If you’d like to book a package holiday or join a group trip, check out our fantastic tours in Macedonia for inspiration.
Travelling to Macedonia? Chat with a local travel specialist in Macedonia who can help organize your trip.